Sunday evening and I’m walking down the hill, up the next, and onto the boardwalk towering over the Atlantic, high on the cliffs, and descend down to the water.
A great way to get around in London is via ‘Boris Bikes’, now called ‘Santander Bikes’. Click on the link for instructions, but here’s the basics:
Hands down. It’s incredible. I’ve changed from an iPhone to Android because of this phone, specifically its camera.
The P9 has a dual camera, one for colour, the other is monochrome and better at discerning shapes. Together, with some software manipulation, they produce outstanding images which I’ve printed in size.
The best effect it offers is choosing the focus point and being able to blur the background. In this mode, you can’t zoom, but you can retrospectively change the focus point, and you can adjust how blurred you want the background (or foreground). The camera will focus as close as 5cm (roughly), so despite not being able to zoom in this mode, you can photograph food in a way you’d need an expensive 100mm 2.8 macro prime lens for ordinarily.
Black and white is also very impressive. I use Capture One for post work or editing, which lets me manipulate black and white pictures better if I take them in colour first. It has six filters which can be applied gradually and simultaneously (unlike Lightroom or Aperture where it’s on or off, one colour only), plus I can add film grain later so I’d rather take a colour picture and adjust it later. For on-the-go Instagram shots however this is a useful function and the results are amazing.
Setting up a VPN is simple and effective. Download the app, install, (pay), open your browser, start the service, choose where you connect to. Detailed instructions are below. What follows is a list of reasons, noting that I’m recommending use only for legal and bona fide causes which I’m assuming you’re adult enough to determine yourself. Then I’ll treat you to some links to set-up instructions for the one I’ve been using for a while now and that has served me well, at a reasonable price. I’ll also put the cost in perspective.
Basically, it lets you connect your laptop, computer or mobile device to a server in a country of your choice, thus telling the world of the web that you are logged on there, rather than where you actually are. This has the following effect on various selected stakeholders:
The Downside: Your connection might be slower. Quite often, it is. However, quite often, it isn’t – you might be using a less crowded server. If it becomes unbearable, you can turn the VPN off. Just be sure to have it on when you are doing something confidential, like sharing vital information.
There’s lots of providers, many free. With something as important as this, i.e. my access to information and need for security, I think a certain expenditure is easily justified. Think of how much time you spend on the internet versus in your car, or using another costly object. With this you get an ad-free product with customer service and a wide range of servers across the world which you can access / log in to. I was recommended PureVPN at one point and found them good and reliable, as well as patient and responsive when it came to issues. This is a good and necessary quality, as it’s difficult to be patient and polite when your internet access is curtailed in a foreign country at an inopportune time. Looking at their offer, it’s very competitive versus the rest, and I know it works. I’m very open to feedback on this. They have two year for one specials which I regularly miss out on.
Follow the instructions. Literally. There’s generally two ways: Via an app, and via your settings, whether that’s on your computer, laptop or mobile device. The app can look more appealing but I’d recommend learning to set it up via settings as this gets to the heart of the matter and will be easier to fix. On a Mac, it’s System Preferences, Networks, and then you add the VPN. Also be sure to tick the “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar”, this will add an icon at the top which you can click and get a quick overview of your networks, it tells you at a glance if your VPN is on and you can access the Networks menu directly from there. I recommend setting up a number of VPNs so you can switch if necessary, without then having to set one up on another server if it’s not working, as that will be the time when you’re least willing / able to do it. Choose a server in your home country, then perhaps one on each continent. Also note there’s different protocols, in summary:
Using the app has the advantage that you can use the “Internet Kill Switch“, which will disconnect you from the internet if your VPN connection drops, so that you don’t ever use an unprotected line inadvertently.
Be sure to download a list of server names so you can access them when you need them, usually when your internet is the slowest.. They’re attached below.
Here’s some links to instructions, and they’re also attached as pdf. For further reading on internet anonymity, here’s a link first: